RETALIATION

Leave harassment investigation to the pros

05/18/2015

There are compelling reasons to outsource or at least get legal help with a sexual harassment complaint. First and foremost, the investigation must be quick, thorough and reasonable. Employers that drop the ball and don’t punish what looks like a clear case of sexual harassment face a long, uphill battle in court.

Never retaliate for reporting safety hazards

05/18/2015
A federal appeals court has concluded that California employees are entitled to protection from retaliation for reporting safety hazards, even if it’s part of their jobs.

'Stop!' makes harassment complaint count

05/18/2015
Conventional wisdom says that employees who fail to report harassment can’t later surprise us with a lawsuit, since it’s impossible to stop harassment that we never learn about. It turns out that’s not always true.

Retaliation claim needn't be written or to DOL

05/06/2015

Employers aren’t supposed to retaliate against employees who file wage-and-hour complaints against their employers. For quite some time now, there has been confusion over two things: first, whether the employee has to make a written complaint, and second, whether the complaint has to be made to a governmental agency like the Department of Labor. Now the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers New York employers, has settled the issue.

Texas leads nation in number of EEOC charges

05/04/2015
More EEOC charges originated in Texas in fiscal year 2014 than any other state.

Ensure complaint doesn't taint firing decision

04/29/2015

Employees who file discrimination complaints are protected from retaliation. When a complaint is closely followed by termination, it becomes easier for the fired employee to show the two were linked and that one caused the other. Smart employers cut this causal connection by making sure that whoever makes the termination decision wasn’t involved in the employee’s original complaint.

Sudden quit? Sort out why before panicking

04/28/2015
Good news if an employee isn’t satisfied with whatever you did to try to address a problem she raised: She can’t just quit in frustration and expect to win a lawsuit against you.

Piling on disciplinary charges can look like retaliation

04/21/2015
It’s easier for employees to prove retaliation for complaining about discrimination than it is to prove the underlying complaint. When disciplining someone who has complained, make sure each infraction is iron-clad—and don’t pile on additional dubious charges.

The Minnesota Whistleblower Act: More time--and more protection--for whistle-blowers

04/13/2015
Recent changes to the Minnesota Whistleblower Act and the way in which Minnesota courts interpret it should put employers on watch. Late last year, the Minnesota Court of Appeals extended the statute of limitations for MWA claims from two to six years. The ruling comes on the heels of 2013 amendments to the MWA, which, plaintiffs argue, expand the scope of the statute’s coverage.

Shouting match over name-calling: That's not protected activity

04/06/2015
Typically, protected activity involves going to the HR office or a supervisor and reporting harassment, discrimination or other perceived illegal treatment. For example, an employee who discovers a racial slur on the bathroom wall may report that to HR and that’s protected activity. But what if the employee, instead of going through channels, responds directly to the co-worker making a comment or caught writing graffiti?

Discrimination, retaliation alert: Beware bending promotion rules case-by-case

04/01/2015
When it comes to promoting employees, try to make sure everyone has a fair shot at opportunities. And if you ever bend the rules, realize that you may end up having that flexibility used against you if you don’t do the same for others.

Heard that story of unfair treatment before? You might be dealing with a serial retaliator

03/23/2015

Ever felt déjà vu when an employee claimed she was suffering retaliation because of a prior discrimination or harassment complaint? If what the employee describes sounds familiar, watch out. You may have a serial retaliator on your hands, and those earlier incidents may end up being used to prove retaliation has occurred again.

Worker's crazy email likely won't cost you in court

03/06/2015
Not every complaint amounts to “protected activity” that shields an employee from retaliation.

Trying to drive out employee can backfire

03/05/2015
Efforts to make life so miserable for an employee that she quits can come back to haunt you. It could be seen as retaliation—even if the employee never quits.

Doesn't matter that he didn't put a ring on it! Engagement unnecessary for retaliation

03/03/2015
Back in 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an employee who was fired after his fiancé—who worked for the same employer—filed an internal discrimination complaint could sue on his own accord alleging retaliation. The fiancé, the court concluded, was within the “zone of interest” meant to be protected from retaliation under Title VII. The Court held that by firing someone’s significant other, the employer in effect would indirectly punish the complainer. Until now, exactly who would be included in the “zone of interest” was in question.
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